by: Yusuf Alli, Managing
The police yesterday launched a search for more than 100 mobile police trainees who are missing as a result of the attack on Thursday by Boko Haram on the Nigeria Mobile Police Academy in Gwoza.
There were indications that some of the fleeing trainees were sighted in Yola and Mubi in Adamawa State.
The lucky ones were said to have made calls to their colleagues on their safety.
The whereabouts of most of the trainees could not be accounted for as at press time.
There was anxiety that some of the mobile police trainees might have been captured by the sect.
But a reliable source in the police, however, confirmed that a roll-call of those on training was being conducted last night to ascertain the actual number and list of those in the academy.
The situation appeared tense yesterday following the blockade of all routes leading to Gwoza by Boko Haram insurgents.
The police could not gain access to Gwoza to reclaim the academy where the insurgents have hoisted their flags.
According to a reliable source who is central to the management of how to retake the academy, none of the trainees could be located.
The source said: “Preliminary findings showed that the insurgents invaded the school in the morning when most of the mobile police trainees were in their training shorts and vests.
“We are talking of more than 100 trainees missing. If the academy is at its full capacity, it can take up to 1,000 policemen either trainees or those for in-service training. None of the police trainees has officially got in touch.
“They overran the academy, burnt some parts of it and hoisted their flags. All those in the school fled and we cannot account for their whereabouts.
“Yesterday some of the trainees were said to have been sighted in Yola and Mubi where they got in touch with their superiors and relations. We are suspecting that some of these trainees might have also managed to escape to their squadrons.”
Responding to a question, the highly-placed source said: “We cannot rule out if any of the trainees had been captured or not by the insurgents because it was a sudden invasion and the topography is hilly.
“As I am talking to you, neither the military nor the police could gain access to Gwoza, either to reclaim the town or the academy.
“Boko Haram insurgents have taken over the entire Gwoza and mounted blockade to deny the police and other security agencies access to the place. The insurgents are in charge of the place now.”
The source said the police management has ordered a roll-call of those nominated for training in the Academy to “at least get a list of the trainees.”
“We have started the search for them from the roll-call. We will now get in touch with their superior officers, colleagues, relations or next-of–kin if they have heard from them.”